Adorable teenage girl adjusting the rear view mirror in the car during her driving practice with a good-looking male instructor

Understanding how to be a safe driver is your biggest responsibility when you’re behind the wheel. While you may think you’re already an incredibly safe driver, there is always room for improvement. With refined safety and technique behind the wheel, you can avoid accidents and other minor incidents that will lead to increased insurance rates (and with the current state of inflation, you want to avoid that at all costs). To ensure you stay safe, here are seven driving habits you need to master: 

1. Never Drive While Sleepy 

Even if you feel that you’re not too tired to drive, if you’re feeling drowsy, you should stay off the road if at all possible. Thousands of deadly accidents happen across the United States every year due to drivers falling asleep at the wheel. When you’re behind the wheel, every second is important, so falling asleep for even a few can lead to deadly, devastating, and irreversible consequences. Catching up on sleep, and keeping a consistent sleep schedule, will help you stay a safe, skilled driver. 

2. Avoid Distractions 

Your phone can wait. Get your music, maps and podcasts ready ahead of time if you want entertainment while driving, then leave your phone alone. Using a phone mount can help you stay that much safer, and keep you hands-free if you suddenly must use your phone for an emergency. However, there are plenty of other distractions out there, whether you’re annoyed by something in your car, or are just in a distracted state of mind. So be sure to stay on top of avoiding them while behind the wheel. 

3. Share the Road 

Many drivers do an insufficient job of sufficiently sharing the road with other vehicles (especially when it comes to motorcycles and other more vulnerable vehicles). Always give at least five vehicle lengths of space between you and any other vehicles if at all possible. When merging lanes, speeding up, or moving onto a new road, this tip becomes that much more essential. If you can share the road, you’ll keep you and everyone else on the road as safe as humanly possible.

4. Take a Defensive Driving Course 

Defensive driving is one of the most crucial ways to ensure you keep everyone around you on the road safe while ensuring your safety as well. There are a ton of techniques needed to understand how to drive defensively with maximum efficiency. By enrolling in a defensive driving course, you’ll have a much stronger chance of using these techniques efficiently when it matters most. Additionally, many insurance providers will pay for the course, and they may even give you a discount on your insurance premiums as a bonus. 

5. Use Child Restraints 

Children can be a huge distraction while driving. Especially if a child is being energetic and messing with windows or locks, this can cause you to become panicked and distracted (putting yourself and others in danger). To ensure you can avoid this situation, using proper child restraints, child locks and more is essential. Knowing how to keep your child in a behavioral mood that will ensure you can drive safely is critical. 

6. Obey Zone Limits 

Paying attention to all of the signs that are posted along the road at all times is essential to being a safe, efficient driver. Work zones, school zones, and other zone types are posted to keep you, everyone else on the road, and pedestrians in the area safe. Your fines are made much more expensive if you fail to follow the signs in these areas as well, so be extra careful to obey zone limits and pay attention to all posted signs on the roads you’re driving. Knowing how to drive in your particular locale is incredibly important as well. 

7. Respect the Speed Limit 

According to Rosendfeld Law Firm, Driving too fast for conditions is one of the leading causes of automobile accidents.Respecting the speed limit is a no-brainer, but unfortunately, many other drivers fail to do this simple, responsible task. There are many reasons these speed limits are posted, and those that designed the roads do many tests to find the right speed to keep everyone safe. If you fail to follow the speed limit, you’ll immediately put yourself and everyone else in a situation where they can no longer infer where you might be going on the road. The fines you’ll get for speeding provide yet another reason that you should respect the speed limit at all times, even if you’re in a hurry. 

Keep Safe, Keep Responsible

Safety and responsibility are the two pillars of any solid driver. Without the willingness to master the above seven techniques, you will be much less safe on the road. Especially if you want to keep your family, community, and pedestrians safe, you need to ensure you work on these driving techniques.